The basement of the Cross House. The original 1894 drawing. What was actually built does not precisely match what was drawn. In 1950, the basement was converted into five motel rooms, and each with a pink en-suite bathroom.
- Servant’s stair. This goes to all four floors, and is the stair I mostly use. I think of it as the default staircase.
- Stair to exterior.
- Original laundry room.
- Dumbwaiter. Now lost but I will recreate it.
- Laundry chute. This is only extant on the second floor. Everything below was removed. I will recreate the missing section.
- Workroom (under dining room).
- Storage (under library).
- Room (under stairhall).
- Room (under parlor).
- Location of extant motel bathroom.
- Room (under entry hall).
ROOM #3 Laundry
I removed all the motel rooms. But their ghost imprints remain, as seen on the floor of the original laundry room. 1) Motel room. 2) Door to motel room. 3) Hall. 4) Closet. 5) Door to bathroom. 6) Toilet. 7) Tub.
The pink plastic remains of the bathroom. These will get covered by the recreated laundry chute and dumbwaiter. And maybe a century from now will be rediscovered.
The laundry room has these HUGE south-facing windows, in a dry moat. The sunlight is currently obscured by scaffolding. The upper sashes are above ground level. The 1894 laundry room will again be a laundry room. A gorgeous, expansive, and comfortable laundry room. Dare I say it will be the second-nicest laundry room in the entire galaxy? (Amy has THE nicest.)
This is the “monster wall” I built to prevent the east facade of the house from collapsing. You see, above the wall is the east exterior wall of the kitchen. Above that is the second-floor wall. Above that is the roof load. And all this massive weight was…suspended in mid-air. Because the actual foundation was five feet over to the left, and holding up…the porch floor. Yep, totally idiotic. But no longer.
I believe that sunlight is a gift from God and should never ever EVER be disrespected. So, these lines to the three AC condensers will be removed, relocated through the foundation, and the window will look like…
…this when restored. When I purchased the house this window had one glass pane with a Y-shaped crack through it, and the other pane had been lost and replaced with cardboard held in place with duct tape. Well, I can put up with a lot, but I have limits, and this affront was rectified moments after I closed on the house. Moments!
ROOM #6 Boilers
There are four high-efficiency pulse boilers. I love them to an unnatural degree. You are looking about $40K worth of equipment and installation. Golly.
Aboard ships, no matter the condition of the hull or decks or interior, it is tradition that the engine room will be SPOTLESS. Everything will be painted and polished and GLEAMING. And this is how the “engine room” of the Cross House will look. The floor and walls will be painted in high-gloss paint. The ceiling will be varnished beadboard. There will be no rust or dust or cobwebs. The room will be a shrine to OCD cleanliness. People will gasp upon entering the room, their jaws slightly dropped in awe!
The vents for the boilers were installed where a window was. An affront to God. These vents will be removed, moved over to the right, and punched through the foundation. And the sash will be restored and returned. I will be very happy that day. God, too.
ROOM #7 Workroom
Because I was brutalized in childhood, I have a hyper-sensitivity to brutality. This even extends to inanimate things, like this brick opening to the workroom. It had been brutalized, and many bricks were missing. Both vertical sides were jagged, causing the opening to look more the result of a bomb blast than a deliberate opening. So I had the brickwork restored, and a little bit of brutality was mitigated. My pleasure was, and is, great, and I often smile when passing through this portal.
The workroom has this fabulous eyebrow window, even with ground level. I love love love it. When I purchased the house the window was, I thought, frosted glass. You could not see through it. RIGHT after buying the house I went outside, placed myself flat down in the snow, and tried to see if I could clean it a bit. To my amazement it proved to be CLEAR glass! It took a sharp straight-edge razor to SCRAP off decades of dirt. When the window is restored, I will have the interior paint analyzed to confirm the original color (or varnish) and recreate this finish. The basement may be a basement but the windows, at least, will be GORGEOUS, dahlink!
The wiring I inherited. I call this spaghetti wiring. ALL of it will be redone so it looks like…
ROOM #8 Storage
This is the Aladdin’s Cave of house bits. A lot of what is missing UPSTAIRS can be found here, DOWNSTAIRS. This room makes me tingle.
ROOM #11 Motel Bathroom
There were at least eight pink bathroom added to the house when it was converted to a motel. Only this one remains, the ONLY Mouse Palace Motel bathroom remaining in the whole universe. Wow. I am going to meticulously restore this treasure. It retains its original sink and tub, and I have another motel toilet. The flooring is original and it, too, will be restored. The original light fixture is in situ. The mirror is missing; I will find one on eBay. The pink tiles will be replaced (but in ceramic rather than plastic), and when all is done and shiny I will add the perfect final touch: fluffy pink towels. The room will be a delight to pee in.
Original tub. All the fittings will be re-chromed. I like the green racing stripe in the floor.
The original built-in toilet holder, the very acme of deluxe. I polished this.
When the bathroom is completed, I will hang this framed image (click to enlarge) which will include an explanatory text about Mouse’s Palace Motel and the meaning of a luscious pink bathroom in a basement.
ROOM #12 Storage
The basement is fully heated with the original radiators. Which are, surreally, on the ceiling. Huh? This perplexed me to no end and NOBODY knew the answer. Not even the burly radiator guys. But then I discovered why! When radiators were first introduced, they were gravity fed. Today, the hot water is pumped. But with a gravity-fed system, the radiators need to be ABOVE the boiler. Oh!!!!!!!! Today, I could lower the radiators to more sensible locations but they are just SO cool hovering overhead like cast-iron UFOs.
When I removed the motel bathrooms I had the non-original openings infilled with concrete block. I did this rather than use red brick because I did not want to confuse the historical narrative. Fifty years from now anybody looking at this will know that SOMETHING was changed here.
Many of the original wood basement windows were replaced during the motel conversion with steel casement windows. These kinda charm me, and I am going to retain them. I am desperate to restore them but cannot figure out how the detach the sashes from the frames.
I did though find a source for new crank levers!!!!!!!! They now open/close again!!!!!!!!